So you got a new TV at the store. Or a new laptop. Or a new printer. And that new item, almost certainly, came in a nice, shiny (okay, maybe not so shiny), box. And it’s tempting to save those boxes, because there are a few scenarios in which having the proper box, that exactly fits your item, might be a good thing.
But usually saving the box also means saving the inside packing material, which means that the big-screen TV box takes up as much or more space as the actual big-screen TV that came in the box.
Thinking this through, I usually hear three big reasons why people save product packaging – returns, moving, and warranty service. Let’s look those over quickly.
You Usually Need The Box For Returns
I keep most of my boxes until I know I won’t be returning the item. I have been able to get refunds without original packaging in cases where the item became defective during the return window, but I don’t like to push it if I don’t have to. Keep in mind that your return window is usually 15 days or so on electronics, and 30-60 days on other items – so keeping a boxes for those time periods shouldn’t result in a room full of cardboard!
You (Probably) Don’t Need The Box For Moving
The best reason to keep boxes for moving purposes is that certain items aren’t protected very well if they’re not boxed and padded. For certain very intricate items I can see the logic, but I can tell you that careful packing eliminates the need for original boxes in most cases.
I’ve helped to move a lot of flat-screen TVs, computers, tools, and the like, without original boxes, and never had an issue. TVs in particular can be wrapped in a thick blanket for protection, and placed carefully on top of other sturdy things – screen side up.
You Don’t Need The Box For Warranties
I’ve had a number of things repaired under warranty, and not once have they asked me to send something back in the original box. I think there are a couple of considerations here.
First, they’re probably not going to ask you to ship some items back at all. Warranties for certain items involve some troubleshooting over the phone, followed by them shipping you another one and asking you to throw yours away.
It helps to realize that retail packaging isn’t necessarily designed for single-unit shipping – it’s designed to be put on a pallet and moved in a semi, and semi shipping usually revolves around designing packaging to be able to hold vertical weight.
Shipping via a carrier like UPS has a whole different set of considerations, mostly revolving around the idea that the box may wind up flying off a conveyor belt and tumbling half a dozen feet down onto concrete.
So when your cell phone or laptop goes kaput and has to get sent back, it’s almost certain that they’ll send you a box to ship it back in. It’s not that they could use the original box if you still had it – they won’t. They’ll send you a new box.
Do You Have Box Clutter?
I’ve seen entire rooms that were mostly dedicated to carefully storing all of the original boxes for the various possessions scattered throughout the house.
Normally this is where I’d put a three-step process, but the good news is that eliminating your box clutter is one of the easiest decluttering projects out there. Pretty much all of it can go – you just need a large trash can for the foam contents, and to break down the cardboard in whatever way your garbage collection service requires!
What about you? Do you have cardboard box clutter? Hop over to the Facebook group and let’s talk about it!